Buddha Statue Fundraising – Accumulate Boundless Merits!
Through unremitting diligence of members and kind support from countless friends, major construction of the Great Hall of the Lansing Buddhist Association (LBA) is at last complete. From a distance, the simple yet graceful Great Hall stands serenely against the scenic backdrop of LBA’s Amitabha Village Retreat Center. Inside, the beautiful bamboo floor accentuates a commodious and bright space that is perfect for Buddhist practice. Meditators and Dharma learners now enjoy the welcoming peaceful space all year round.
However, construction of the Great Hall has strained LBA’s financial resources, leaving little fund for the mortgage on the center residence (Perry House), let alone future Dharma programs and events. In the Buddhist analysis, no dharma arises by itself and everything depends on proper conditions. The spread of Buddha-dharma depends on generosity and, with sincere love of dharma, generosity does arise. Seeing LBA’s practical need, the distinguished Taiwanese bhiksunī Venable Kuan Chien has bestowed on LBA a masterpiece Buddha sculpture by the world-renowned artist Yuyu Yang (Ying-Feng Yang), her late father. Venerable and LBA are inviting Buddhist friends to share in the great merits of installing this sculpture in the Great Hall through financial support. Your generosity will help generate more wisdom and compassion in Michigan.
A commemorative plaque will be displayed permanently in the Great Hall with the names of our “Owners of Merits” who contribute $10,000 or more. An authentic scaled version of the same Buddha statue by the master sculptor Yuyu Yang will go to contributors giving $20,000 or more. A beautiful teacup, hand- crafted by a local artist Kellie Buckley and inscribed with Chan Master Venerable Chi-Chern’s calligraphy, will be given to all contributing $600 or more.
The Lansing Buddhist Association (LBA) was established in 1995, dedicated to the practice and spread of the Buddha-dharma. In 2000, LBA obtained the tax exemption non-profit organization status. Grounded in the Buddhist spirit of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity, LBA promotes the Dharma in the greater Lansing area. It has organized numerous Chan and Pure Land retreats, hosted Dharma masters and teachers from Taiwan, America, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Tibet, and reached out to the diverse local community to foster a unique cross-racial, multicultural environment for Buddhist practice. Practitioners now visit LBA from as far as Ohio, Chicago, and even California and the east coast.
Presently, LBA’s activities include weekly group study and practice, monthly one-day Pure Land chanting retreat, day of mindfulness, and retreats with visiting teachers throughout the year. With the newly constructed Great Hall and its residence Perry House, LBA now can host large-scale Dharma events and offer improved accommodations for Dharma masters and practitioners who travel from afar. Now LBA is set to provide more opportunities for Dharma study and practice in Michigan and beyond. Step by step as its resources permit, it will add regular introductory meditation classes, a family Buddhist camp, a children’s Buddhist camp, a Buddhist lecture series as well as longer intensive Dharma programs for people who wish to deepen their understanding and practice.
Ven. Kuan Chien
About Venerable Kuan Chien, LBA’s Benefactor
Venerable Kuan Chien was ordained as a
Buddhist nun in 1987 under Venerable Chue-Hsin at Fa-Yuan Temple in Hsinchu,
Taiwan. Presently, she heads the Yung-Hsiu Vihara (www.chuefeng.org.tw/hall_origin.aspx)
in Hsinchu, Taiwan, Chue Feng Buddhist Art & Culture Foundation (www.chuefeng.org.tw),
and Bodhi Buddhist Association (www.chuefeng.org.tw/bba_usa.aspx)
in the United States. Venerable
In August 2010, Venerable Kuan Chien came to Amitabha Village Retreat Center to teach the Dharma in Michigan. She was deeply touched by LBA members’ great compassionate vows of building the retreat center for all practitioners of the Buddha-dharma despite LBA’s financial constraints. She also greatly identified with LBA’s commitment to sharing authentic Buddha-dharma in its varied forms from different traditions. Seeing the Great Hall near completion, Venerable generously promised the gift of her late father’s masterpiece sculpture to LBA to be the principal image in the hall. She further suggested that LBA raise funds for the auspicious occasion of installing the sculpture in the Great Hall, thereby building a more solid foundation for LBA to spread the Buddha-dharma in Michigan.
The Merit of Installing the Buddha Sculpture
In the Mahāyāna Sūtra on the Merits of Making Buddha Images it is written, “If a person makes a Buddha image with a sincere mind, all of his or her karmic obstacles will be destroyed. The merits thus accumulated are immeasurable and boundless and may even be conducive to the attainment of the supreme and perfect wisdom.” It also states, “Even if a person has yet to abandon the self-centered defilements, by making a Buddha image he or she will attain liberation when the future Buddha Maitreya attains perfect enlightenment. If a sentient being makes a Buddha image not for liberating one’s self alone but for generating the supreme wisdom, he or she should know that the merits of making the thirty-two marks of the Buddha will help the person quickly attain Buddhahood.”
As such, properly installing a Buddha image can help a person extinguish bad karma, gain immeasurable merits, and plant the seed of liberation that will lead to enlightenment. The Buddha statue by the master sculptor Yuyu Yang is simple yet stately, pristine yet profound, very different from the ornate and complicated design of traditional Buddha sculptures. The abstract language of this piece of sculpture exquisitely conveys the profundity of the Buddha-dharma and calls attention to the empty nature of all seemingly real phenomena. The statue manifests for practitioners the tremendous strength and compassion that is the Buddha. It inspires us to uncover and realize the existence-comprehending wisdom deep inside ourselves. Installing such a majestic statue in the Great Hall of the Amitabha Village Retreat Center can really help all of us on the path to Buddhahood.